‘It’s tragic’: Police, coroner’s office still investigating fiery crash in Fairfield Twp.

The driver of a van that crashed into a house and caught on fire is dead after they were unable to get out of the vehicle when it engulfed in flames on Sunday. LOT TAN/WCPO-TV
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The driver of a van that crashed into a house and caught on fire is dead after they were unable to get out of the vehicle when it engulfed in flames on Sunday. LOT TAN/WCPO-TV

The Fairfield Twp. accident that resulted in a man’s death Sunday afternoon was “very traumatic,” said township police Sgt. Brandon McCroskey.

“It was a very disturbing and troubling scene,” he said. “It’s tragic. There are a lot of questions we’re looking into to try to answer. Maybe they’ll be answered, maybe they won’t. It just depends on what the coroner’s office can establish and what we can establish.”

The driver of a minivan crashed into a home on Drew Drive in Fairfield Twp., and the vehicle subsequently caught fire. The driver was unable to get out of the vehicle when it was engulfed in flames on Sunday.

Before colliding with the house, the driver hit a mailbox down the road, drove through multiple yards and hit a car, according to police. When the van collided with the home, a fire sparked in the van that spread to the home.

The identity of the man in the minivan has not been released by Fairfield Twp. police or the Butler County Coroner’s office. The release of the name is still pending notification, according to the coroner’s office.

The family inside the home escaped safely. Adam Gehler, the homeowner, said after hearing what sounded like a big explosion, he ran outside to see what happened. When he spotted the van and the fire, he grabbed two fire extinguishers and attempted to rescue the driver and extinguish the fire.

“I jumped in the back of the minivan and I went and tried to get him to the back to get him to lean his seat down and try to spray the fire, and I got the fire out for a minute, then it just lit up,” Gehler said. “And the cop grabbed me and told me to get out, and (he) pulled me out.”

Gehler said he and his family moved into the home in July and the van hit a room where his grandchildren were playing.

“The grandkids told me when it hit, it hit so hard it bumped them out of there,” said Gehler, who adopted his five grandchildren. “They have game chairs and it flipped them out of their game chairs.”

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined, according to McCroskey.

Gehler said both his vehicles are totaled and hopes he can repair his home. He set up a GoFundMe account at tinyurl.com/3me5u27y asking for help from the community. But he’s also asking for “prayers for the man I watched burn to death ... It was horrific and I am praying for him and his family, too.”